The Des Moines Register had a report this morning talking about Des Moines' budget problems, related in large part to a hefty load of non-taxable property in the city (about 40% of the property here). It seems like the city's money problems are related to its size -- is that evidence of a universal trend? What's the point where the Laffer curve takes over in property taxes -- where raising taxes actually causes tax receipts to decline (because people stop moving in and start moving out in order to avoid the tax)? It seems like it must be somewhere between the size of West Des Moines or Urbandale and the size of Waterloo or Des Moines -- maybe somewhere between 40,000 and 100,000 people. Waterloo, for instance, had big budget problems in the schools in the mid-1990s. Reminds me why I don't generally like city-county mergers.
If you haven't enjoyed the Volkswagen "Un-Pimp My Ride" commercials, you're missing a real gem. Almost as funny: Prince Charles in a Che Guevara hat. He thinks he's a political dissident, but that's pretty hard to swallow given how much money the royal family evacuates from the British treasury.
Break out a copy of the Constitution for the Houston police chief, who thinks it's OK to place surveillance cameras everywhere, under the tired old "If you're not doing anything wrong, why should you worry about it?" excuse. One good counter to that argument: Sometimes the government is wrong, and what is right may be illegal. Say, for instance, if you're Martin Luther King, Jr.
Some applause, though, for the Mythbusters, who are making money while teaching people about science and technology. And find some more great reading with the Carnival of the Capitalists.